Horror & Dark Fantasy

Best American Science Fiction and Fantasy 2017

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Author Spotlights

Author Spotlight

Author Spotlight: Chesya Burke

“I Make People Do Bad Things” is a historical story set in the late 1920s, early 30s. It’s based on the real historical figures of Madam Stephanie St. Clair and Bumpy Johnson. I enjoy blending genres, especially in historical or alternate history pieces, because it allows for re-imagining these eras through limitless realms.

Author Spotlight

Author Spotlight: Adam-Troy Castro

For years, I had been toying with the idea of a science fictional brothel that afforded human beings the opportunity to virtually experience the sex acts of creatures from other worlds. It didn’t work as space-faring science fiction, especially when my first few attempts centered on multiple dalliances culminating in total, irreversible surfeit … I then had the epiphany: what if there was only one transcendent experience, and anybody who sought it had to sacrifice everything, including his future?

Author Spotlight

Author Spotlight: Miranda Siemienowicz

The first image that came to me when putting this story together was the lipstick scene, and the idea of make-up as body modification or even physical abuse. There seemed to be a natural extension from this to the idea of stage make-up, so housing the imagery of the story in the setting of a theatre helped support that process. Theatre is an art form that recreates physical reality in a way that is tangible and living but still never quite real.

Author Spotlight

Author Spotlight: Damien Angelica Walters

I’ve written quite a few stories with unnamed protagonists, and I honestly thought this was going to be one of them. Then the issue of her name came up within the context of the story, so I knew I couldn’t leave her nameless, but I also knew I couldn’t just give her any name. I wanted something that whispered, but didn’t scream, sadness. Lola is the diminutive form of the name Dolores, which is Spanish for sorrows, and Mae is a Hebrew name meaning bitter.

Author Spotlight

Author Spotlight: Lucy A. Snyder

But in fiction, it’s harder for me to intentionally scare people. I can make a story creepy or disturbing or gory, but scary? That’s deeply personal, and subjective; what one person finds viscerally terrifying another will find utterly mundane. Humor is subjective, too, but most people will groan in response to a well-done pun.

Author Spotlight

Author Spotlight: Martin Cahill

“It Was Never the Fire” started off with an image of a boy eating smoke. I knew in my gut that that was all he ate, and if he ever ate anything else, he wasn’t going to show me. I knew he had secrets, and I knew he wasn’t going to tell just anyone, probably not even me. In fact, he wasn’t telling me much at all. You know how characters can be.

Author Spotlight

Author Spotlight: Nancy Etchemendy

I left Nevada in 1976 and I’ve lived in a number of other places since then, but none have affected my writing more powerfully. I think it’s pretty common for writers to feel an emotional attachment to settings where they spent big chunks of time as children or young adults. But I don’t just have an emotional attachment to Nevada; I’m in love with it.

Author Spotlight

Author Spotlight: Dale Bailey

Virtually all my stories are written intuitively. I don’t really choose narrative strategies consciously—I just see where the story takes me. This makes for lots of interesting course corrections along the way, alas, and more than a few abandoned fragments. (Maybe I should outline.) But I will say that I don’t like stories that over-explain themselves.

Author Spotlight

Author Spotlight: Bones

For the most part, my time beneath the priory was a void, the rats merely there to keep my bones free from cobwebs and other detritus of the usual sort one finds in limestone abysses. But after the initial disturbance in 1923 and the ensuing explosion, in those decades during which I lay exposed to the merciless sun, there was an albino rat whose ministrations I recall with fondness.

Author Spotlight

Author Spotlight: Nathan Ballingrud

I was very much thinking of the Dracula paradigm. I even wanted to include the mist and the turning into a bat. Of course there wasn’t a place for that, and that’s probably a good thing. But I was committed to the idea of a vampire being a merciless predator which relied on seduction to capture prey. The challenge was to do that in a way I hadn’t seen done before.